Ryanair criticized for introducing Afrikaans test for travelers from South Africa

(CNN) — Ryanair has come under fire for asking travelers from South Africa to take an Afrikaans test to verify their nationality before boarding a flight.

The budget airline has been accused of racial discrimination after it introduced passengers to a West German language test that was forced on black South Africans under apartheid and is only used by about 12% of the population.

News of the tests came to light last month after a passenger traveling from Portugal to London broke the news. Twitter that he was asked to take a “two-page Afrikaans test” before being allowed to board a flight.

The move sparked outrage among South Africans, many of whom took to social media to criticize the airline, pointing out that South Africa has 11 official languages ​​and many citizens do not speak Afrikaans.

“Insane and Discriminatory”

Ryanair has since released a statement saying the test, consisting of questions regarding general knowledge of South Africa, was issued in response to the “high prevalence” of fake South African passports.

“Due to the large number of counterfeit South African passports, we are requiring passengers traveling to the UK to complete a simple form in Afrikaans,” the statement said.

“If they fail to complete this form, they will be denied travel and a full refund will be issued.”

Afrikaans is the third most spoken language in South Africa after Zulu and Xhosa.

Ryanair does not operate direct flights to or from South Africa. It is not yet clear if the testing requirement applies to all Ryanair flights or just flights to the UK.

CNN has reached out to Ryanair for comment.

Best Image Credit: Adrian DennisAFP via Getty Images


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